On April 12, the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Sciences announced the funding of Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre (NPEC) as part of the National Roadmap for Large-scale Scientific Infrastructure of the Dutch government. The NPEC facility is an initiative of Utrecht University and Wageningen University & Research. NPEC provides a versatile modular platform that will enable Dutch and international scientists, botch academic and R&D, to carry out accurate high-throughput phenotyping: studies of plant performance in relation to relevant biotic and abiotic factors across a range of scales, from molecule to crop, from nm to km.
NPEC is an integrated, national research facility housed by Wageningen University & Research and Utrecht University and is co-funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for 10 years with a contribution of 11 M€. The total costs of NPEC amounts up to 22 M€. Research leader of the Utrecht University part of NPEC is Prof. George Kowalchuk (rechtsvoor op de foto).
High quality phenotyping modules
NPEC comprises six complementary, experimental modules.
- In the precision mesocosm–level ECOtron (ECO) plant-plant and plant-microbe interactions both above- and belowground will be studied, at a level of cm to µm.
- The Plant-Microbe Interactions phenotyping module (PMI) will be used for high throughput research on plant-microbe interactions, from the molecular level up to plant organ level.
- The Multi-Environment climate chamber module (ME) has been designed to study the molecular basis of plant responses to multiple environmental factors.
- The High-Throughput Phenotyping climate chamber module (HTP) allows for automated, high-throughput screening of plant genotypes under highly controlled environmental conditions.
- In the GreenHouse phenotyping (GH) module, integrated whole-plant phenotyping will be carried out, testing numerous crops, from seedling to harvest.
- The Open-Field phenotyping (OF) module provides an outdoor mobile drone- and vehicle-based phenotyping system that can study individual plants in small plots or large fields.